FAQs on Discus
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Related FAQs: Discus
1, Discus 2, Discus Identification,
Discus Selection, Discus Compatibility, Discus Behavior, Discus Systems, Discus Disease, Discus Reproduction, Cichlids of the World, Cichlid Systems, Cichlid Identification, Cichlid Behavior, Cichlid Compatibility, Cichlid Selection, Cichlid Feeding, Cichlid Disease, Cichlid Reproduction,
Discus fish not feeding properly.
I have been keeping discus since 2007, I believe i know quite about this
Normally when fish eats it will pull in the food particle or pellet in
their mouth back in 2008 I had one discus that had a problem with
feeding, that Discus will try to peck at the food but was unable to pull
or suck the food it into its mouths . fish will desperately try to keep
mouthing on that pellet, FBW, Beef heart what ever I give but will have
difficulty in feeding.
That is for sure that fish is hungry, coz I can see how hard she is try
to mouth that food particle to eat, but that particle moves away coz
fish is pecking or mouthing on it not pulling or sucking on it.
So I use to throw in pellet by pellet of Tetra bits to feed that discus
coz while the pellet slowly sinks down and fish keeps on trying somehow
use to get hold of it and eat it and this thing use to take me 10-15
min.s to feed this fish.
Recently I bought my self a pair of turquoise Discus n i see this same
problem in the female of that pair.
<How recently? Days, weeks ago?>
Fish is breathing Normal with both gills, I don't see any slimy poop,
normal black poop.
I don't see any thing on web related to this problem, all I hear is
common thoughts n views of internal parasite.
n I know this is not the case.
I would really Appreciate I you give me some thought on it.
What do you think it might be?
<My initial guesses are either unfamiliarity with the type of food... so
the animal is spitting it back out, rotating it... or some sort of
genetic defect in the buccal cavity of the specimen. I'd experiment
with, use other softer kinds of foods>
Discus are Asian Discus.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Dear Crew I have few Question on CR6 & CR8... Searching for
color-enhancing ingredients in fish food 9/16/13
I am a discus lover and hobbyist. I have question on CR6 & CR8. those
product manufactured by White Crane Aqua Thailand.
<Can't make out much that's useful on their site re:
But I want to know what Basic Color enhancer they use in those two
<They might tell you if you contact them; but I don't see MSDS sheets or
such re their lines>
Carophyll Red & Carophyll Yellow these two Color enhancing Substance
they used in their product or any other chemicalized formula or Hormone.
<Claim these are sex hormone free. Likely so... as powders... expensive>
Please let me know about the Product composition. And if there is any
Other color enhancing element expt ASTAXANTHIN. CAROPHYLL. please let
me know pn that too.
<Sorry; you'll have to contact the manufacturer re. Or better time
spent, search (computer) out your own bibliography. Some notes re how
<I would search for Symphysodon color enhancers, foods>
Re: I need your help, please. Discus... comp./hlth.
Despite your wonderful advice my boyfriend got me discus and I was so
I didn't have the nerve to take them back.
They're actually doing very well with my angels.
They've established their areas and can happily swim next to each other
with no pecking or anything.
But I do have a question.
I have 2 discus now.
They're male and female.
Young, never mated.
And the male is just slightly smaller.
My question is that he's been acting a little odd.
He's kind of hanging low to the sand and seems very lethargic.
He also hugs himself with his fins.
I know they like dark places and such so at first I wasn't too worried,
But then I noticed the fin thing.
I did a water change, about 30% roughly, and that helped the female come
out a little, but no change in the male.
I do have a bubble wand and a powerhead running so could it be possible
that the current it too strong?
<Not likely, no... How large is this system? Water temp.? Hardness?>
I see no change when they're off too so that seems unlikely.
Thanks for your advice,
<.... Please read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: I need your help, please. Discus fdg. 5/4/12
the tank is 55 gallons, temp sits around 80 degrees, all of the
water parameters are fine.
<Specifically…? We do need numbers. For a start, the water is
too cool, with 28 C/82 F being optimal for Discus, up to 30 C/86 F for
breeding. Water hardness must be low, at least no higher than 10-12
degrees dH for farmed Discus, and the pH needs to be slightly acidic to
neutral, pH 6-7 being about right for farmed Discus. Ammonia and nitrite
levels must be zero, and nitrate MUST be low, 20 mg/l at the absolute
I tried reading up like you said, but that didn't offer me much help.
I did get to treat the discus separate from the tank, but medicate their
food to get rid of any cross- contamination for the angels, which I've
done. The Male Discus is now currently in a 10 gallon, with this "Rid
all" medication and seems to be slowly getting better.
<Which "Rid All" medication? There's a variety, each for certain
diseases. No one medication treats everything, and if used
indiscriminately, most will do more harm than good.>
he's still not eating though, any advice of how I can entice him to eat?
<As with all, and I mean ALL, Cichlidae, Discus will eat like pigs when
they're happy and healthy. If your Discus isn't feeding, it isn't about
"enticing" him to eat, but about asking why he isn't hungry. Solve that
riddle, and you're done. Environmental issues (water quality,
temperature, lighting, tankmates) are usually at the heart of problems
with Discus. Some farmed stock are susceptible to worm infections to be
sure, but generally farmed Discus are otherwise adaptable, hearty fish
given the right environment. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Discus fish feeding problem
Thank you so much for explaining me completely. You always been very
helpful, thanks once again.
Gob bless you
<I'm sure he does!>
<Likewise to you, Neale.>
Discus Food variety 10/20/11
Discus Feeding in Community
I am a discus hobbyist and I do few business with discus fish, from the
size of 0.5 to 1cm I start to grow discus fries, I start feeding Baby
Brine Shrimp after one or two week start to feed them Decapsulated brine
shrimp but when they get the size of 1inch or 3cm what I should feed
them for best growth?
<There are a few formulations... I'd be using Spectrum pelleted... Read
At a forum some experts advised me to start beef heart mixture
<Nah.... olde school... too many potential problems> |but I don't know
process to make beef heart mixture which can be kept at air tight jar or
a container, it should be kept in deep freezer.
Is there is any ingrediance which can be use as preservative that's my
first question to you.
<... please read here:
and the linked files above; particularly Reproduction>
And 2nd question please let me know a way to sterilize or making
diseases free Tubifex worm,
<Can't be done. I'd shy away from Tubificids as well... actually all
live freshwater foods>
I have seen many Penag, Hong Kong Discus breeder using live Tubifex worm
as a alternative diet of Discus babies, but they don't wish to share
their trade secret, I do not have time and space to Harvesting, and
reproduction of Tubifex worms, Here in India it can very easy to get at
shop but those are full of Pathogen, Parasites and Bacterias.
Please let me know how to make that Tubifex worm complete diseases free
for my discus babies?
Here I wish to tell you I change 200% of water regularly for 5 to 6
times as Mr. Jack Wattley told at a forum "water change is the one and
only way to make huge discus"
<Jack is "the real thing". Bob Fenner>
Thanks for your extremely informative site! Your advice has helped me
keep fish for several years now, but I've never written before. Now
I do have a question that I don't see anywhere. 2 weeks ago I added
six Discus (smallish, the biggest is maybe 3" total length, with
the others a little under that. It's a 90 gallon tall tank, 25%
weekly water changes, established tank, 82 degrees, ph 7.0, ammo0,
nitrite0,nitrate maybe1. Kh2, Gh3. Other fish, 2 small electric blue
rams that came with the Discus, 1 longfin albino Ancistrus (body length
about 3"), 2 real SAE's about 2 1/2"(they dart around
some--but stop when they see the Discus), a pair of Pearl Gourami's
and 3 female Phantom Tetras.
<Sounds good, except that Phantom Tetras do really prefer cooler
water than Discus, so that's not a mix I'd recommend. Do bear
in mind Discus need warmish conditions to stay healthy, 28 C/82 F being
about right for day-to-day living. Kept cooler than this their appetite
resistance will be less than it should be. Yes, common farmed Discus
are much tougher than their wild-caught kin, but you don't want to
push your luck.>
My question is, if I don't need the Discus to grow rapidly, which
seems to be such a concern for many owners, what is the minimum number
of feedings a day I should be doing? I've been doing two, and
making sure to put enough food in, in various tank areas, so the shyer
smaller Discus get some. The bigger guy is of course a bully.
<Two meals per day is ample.>
But for my other fish, this is like manna from heaven! I'm actually
afraid they're getting too much food, especially too much protein,
since I fed pretty sparsely before the Discus arrived, to keep the
water perfect. Does anyone anywhere feed young Discus just once a day,
or is that going to stunt them?
<Would feed smaller meals, but 2-3 times. Do bear in mind fish have
rather poor digestive systems, and much of what we give them comes out
much the same way it went in! On the other hand, underfeeding will
Healthy fish have slightly convex bellies when viewed from the front,
but should always be alert and looking for the next meal. If your fish
aren't starving, for example they have hollow bellies that look
concave viewed from the front, then there's nothing to worry
I certainly want them to thrive. (I'm feeding a variety of frozen
Bloodworms, frozen prepackaged Discus food, small cichlid pellets,
shrimp pellets, some Spectrum flake for tropicals, a couple different
kinds of algae wafers, not all those things at once of course. It seems
everyone eats everything! My Ancistrus isn't nocturnal at all, he
comes out and eats so much his stomach looks enormous, then he lies on
his back snoozing.
So much for eating algae off the walls!)
<Ancistrus are very omnivorous, and yours is in fact doing what
comes natural! Few, if any fish, live solely on algae.>
Thanks in advance,
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: urgent Discus fish laid eggs
One more discus fish stomach is swollen & eyes are bigger. I
started treatment of metrogyl 400mg 3tablet.
but I find now result. can I dip discus fish in potassium permanganate
<Too toxic... I'd not use KMnO3 unless it was the only thing
I want to safe his life.
On internet 100 of homemade food recipes are available for discus
I want you to suggest the best homemade food for discus fish.
can you please give me the recipes.
<You'll have to look about yourself here. There are quite a few
formulations; many based in part on terrestrial animal meat. Bob
I am a beginner to the discuss fishkeeping. I would like to know
whether I have to keep discus in odd or even numbers. I hope you will
enlighten me on this query.
<Some argue odd numbers are best; I'd argue so long as you have
six or more, they should be happy. In smaller groups, aggression is
Also my discus eat Tetrabits but every time I try to feed them Nutrafin
max they are not ready to eat it. What could be the reason.,
<Discus often decide to eat just one thing! Try starving them for a
days. Appetite makes the best sauce! Cheers,
Neale.><<Actually, the NutraFin product is neither nutritious,
nor palatable/attractive to Symphysodon. Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/discusfdgfaqs.htm
Get rid of the Hagen product.
Garlic juice (Symphysodon
I have a 2 1/2 to 3 " discus that was being bullied in my 240 g
and has stopped eating. I've removed him to a 10 g hospital tank,
hoping to get him to eat.
My other 17 discus eat like piranha. Since I moved him, I've added
maybe 3/4 tsp. of salt, brought the temp. up to 86 degrees,
<Not necessary for long-term care; 28 C/82 F is the optimum.>
and prepared some fresh garlic juice.
I primarily feed Live Calif. Blackworms. I'm afraid if I soak the
in the juice that they will die.
I was considering dosing the tank with so many drops per gallon, but
have no idea what a proper dose might be. As always, I look forward to
your advise, and direction
<To be honest, I wouldn't use garlic in this way. If a cichlid
of any sort stops feeding, it's a clue something isn't right.
In this case, it looks like stress is to blame. Maintained on its own
in a dark, gently-flowing
environment it should regain its confidence in time, and once happy,
should eat whatever's offered. Discus are far from picky if offered
foods they like, and the farmed specimens in particular are no more
fussy than, say, Angels. Live brine shrimp, live daphnia and live
mosquito larvae would all be viable foods in this situation, and the
movement of midwater animals (as opposed to worms that sink) should
elicit feeding behaviour naturally. Brine shrimp and daphnia also have
the benefit of being high in indigestible matter, so they reduce
bloating. Frozen bloodworms seem to go down well with Discus, and
they're certainly "smelly" enough to get their attention,
but some aquarists believe they're not a safe food because of
the environments where they're grown. So I'd use them sparingly
rather than as a staple. In other words, let your Discus settle in, and
when it's happy, it should eat anything you provide, without the
need for garlic.
Also bear in mind that farmed Discus do not grow uniformly large, and
runts are quite common. Discus are hierarchical, and if one specimen
can't hold its own within the group, it'll likely be bullied
much of the time.
Singletons can do quite well in community tanks, and "dwarf"
specimens do especially well maintained that way. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Garlic juice (Symphysodon nutrition)
I thought I'd give you an update. Just for the heck of it, I dosed
garlic juice 1 drop per gallon, along with 3/4 tsp. of salt. The next
day the little guy was acting like any of my other discus (swimming
hanging in the corner on the bottom, fins fully extended, all darkness
gone), but not eating. When I would introduce food, he would look at it
but not eat any. Yesterday morning he began eating very timidly, and
last night he ate more. Still not like my others, more like grazing,
but it's a start.
I'll need to grow him out a bit before I try to put him back in
with the others.
<I suspect so. Discus social behaviour is often less than helpful,
and smaller specimens do tend to lose out in many ways.>
As always, thank you very much for your comments and advice.
<Thanks for the update, and good luck! Cheers, Neale.>
Discus fish feeding problem
Hey there Neale, I hope you will be fine there. Neale I got 9 discuss
fish in my 90 gallon tank they all are small like average size would be
In the beginning they were very shy but now some of them are not. I
used to give them frozen bloodworm they ate them like crazy except 2
I got a major problem that they are not eating any other food like
flakes and tetra bits. I am very much depressed that I do not know what
to do so that they get along with other kinds of food. Is okay to feed
frozen bloodworm in a day one time only? please help me what to do.
Water condition, temperature, PH level and everything is normal.
Thank you, Ali
<Hello Ali. They do need more than bloodworms. If necessary,
don't feed them for a few days, maybe a week. THEN offer them good
quality flake or pellet food. Discus will eat a range of other foods,
including beef heart
and small pieces of white fish fillet (e.g., Tilapia). Safe live foods
include brine shrimp, daphnia and small earthworms. If you can collect
mosquito or midge larvae from somewhere with NO fish, like a barrel of
water, they are safe and Discus love them. It is normal for Discus to
be shy, and the use of floating plants and dither fish (such as
Hatchetfish or Rummynose tetras) will help. Cheers,
Re: Discus fish feeding problem
Hey there Neale, thank you so much for your quick response.
Firstly I will don give them anything at least for a week then I will
give them tetra bits and high quality of flakes and high quality of
pellets. I hope they eat them.
<I hope so too!>
After a week I will let you know about my discuss fish status.
Thank you, Ali
<Cool. Good luck, Neale.>
Discus Not Eating -- 06/9/10
Hi Crew, I've got eight discus in a 240 gallon tank. Nitrates are
less than 20 ppm. 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites. All other parameters are very
good based on my test strips.
My dilemma is that 6 of the 8 are eating fine and the other 2
aren't. About 4 or 5 days ago I noticed something white (definitely
not ich) on one of the discus. I kept a sharp eye on him over the next
day or two and noticed
he wasn't eating, he would initially go up to the food like he was
going to eat. Aside from not eating, and the white area, his appearance
was fine, not pale, full color, not skinny.
I then quarantined him in a bare bottom 10 gallon. The white looked
like some kind of fungus( I thought it might be fin rot, but after
contacting you, I didn't see the symptoms you described). The next
morning the white was completely gone.
I noticed one of the other discus not eating, so I quarantined him as
well. So now I have 2 discus that appear totally fine with the
exception that they aren't eating.
Any ideas? Thank you Pat
<I would recommend raising the water temp up to 82 F and do a 50%
water change. Isolate the discus in the hospital tank and try to get
them to eat in there. Offer the food for five minutes and then remove
it. If they don't
eat then treat with a combination of Metronidazole and Nitrofuranace to
treat for a possible internal infection.-Chuck>
Re: Discus not eating
Discus Not Eating 6/10/2010
Hi crew, A friend of mine told me that he once had an angel fish that
quit eating for a week. Then one day he noticed a larger than normal
fish poo in the bottom of the tank, and the angel fish was eating. Do
constipation could be the problem? I also failed to mention that I feed
< Feeding Blackworms is a double edged sword. The are very
nutritious and high in protein but may carry parasites and pick up
toxins from the mud they live in. I would try to get them to eat a high
quality pellet food for a main diet and only feed the Blackworms
occasionally as a treat. Not too much fiber in Blackworms. Exclusive
feeding of worms is a problem.>
There is a certain level of bullying between all the discus during
feeding time. I've been told this is normal.
< Yes it is.>
I'm expecting four 2" Siam Red Master Discus from
I plan to quarantine them. How long do you suggest?
< At least 2 weeks.>
Do you suggest administering any preventative medications?
<No. I usually like to look them over an make sure they are eating
and they are alert with erect fins. Adding medication when it is not
needed may lead to additional stress.>
I'm told that they're captive bred.
< Captive bred fish bring on entirely different problems. If they
have been raised on one kind of food then it may be difficult to get
them to eat another.-Chuck>
Thank you Pat
Discus success story (stkg., fdg.) and
lionfish treatment (hlth.) 11/21/09
Hello crew, today I am writing about a success story of mine, a
question, and concerns about the treatment of my black volitans
First of, I am now the proud owner of my first discus,
<Symphysodon spp. are social animals... really only do well in
groups, mated pairs>
a fish I have always wanted to take a hand at. I am happy to report
that the discus has oddly enough adapted quite well to my rather busy
community aquarium and has been happily feeding off all dry/frozen
<Mmm, need more than this>
for the 5 weeks I have had it. I am now planning on saving for a 125
set up of maybe 6 discus and once those are nicely set up mature and
established perhaps try adding 6 altum angels.
<Ahh, I wouldn't mix these. See the Net, library re>
My question is that on your site I have read angels and discus
generally are not compatible, yet my discus is thriving alongside 3
angels that do not hassle it or out compete it.
<Perhaps you are/were lucky, but time will tell>
This leads me to believe that in certain circumstances the mix might
not be so bad. Would it be safest to try adding angels or discus first
to try to make sure everything goes along smoothly?
<Up to you, but I would not>
My last question is in regards to my lionfish. Not even a week ago my
lion was eating healthily and all seemed well. Then over the course of
2 or 3 days his eyes clouded and he stopped eating. I at first thought
it was blindness like you mentioned in your article on lions but I just
have standard fluorescent light bulbs, nothing intense. Several
employees at the LFS I work at agreed that it sounded like a bacterial
infection and should be dosed with Maracyn.
I dosed the aquarium (125 gallons) with both Maracyn 1 and Maracyn 2
since we were not sure if it was internal or external. Now two days
later, his eyes look a bit better but he is still not eating and
appears to be covered in a fungus that my puffer had. It looks like
marine ick I suppose and I added Maroxy to the water as well. Is there
anything else I can do? I read that lions can last a while without
being fed but I am really worried about losing him. -Thanks Ray
<Really only able to "tell" what this might be through
microscopic examination... I might try pH-adjusted freshwater bathing
this fish, moving it to other quarters if you have such. Please use the
search tool on WWM re. Bob Fenner>
Question about food --
I have 5 Discus and 1 Uaru and am seeking advice on what types of foods
I could get for them at the local market.
<Well, Uaru are herbivores, so most any soft green foods are
options. Curly lettuce, cooked or tinned peas, spinach, Sushi Nori,
etc. Discus are carnivores, albeit on invertebrates for the most part.
A bag of mixed from seafood (squid, mussel, prawn, and cockles for
example) could be chopped up
and supplemented with fish vitamins (usually sold for marine fish). I
would use just the seafood though, because prawns, mussels, and some
squid contain high levels of thiaminase, and over time, that can cause
severe health problems. Hence the need for the vitamin supplement. But
still, this would be very inexpensive.>
The money I am spending on frozen food per month is getting ridiculous,
and I am trying to find a cheaper, though equally nutritious, means of
feeding my babies.
<Do see a couple of excellent articles on gel foods, here:
Re: Question about food --
<You are most welcome.>
You guys are the best!
<We really are, aren't we? Cheers, Neale.>
Sick discus- Discus Not Eating
06/15/08 I have an 8 month old discus that was
very healthy last week no it is not eating and is pooping clear I read
it could be internal parasites but what can cure it ? Please don't
say metro because I've been reading that it don't really solve
the problem? Please I don't him to die Thanks < Check the water
quality of the tank. Ammonia and nitrites should be zero and the
nitrates should be under 20 ppm for domesticated discus and under 10
ppm for wild discus. The water temp should be around 80 to 82 F. If
these look OK then do a 50-30% water change and vacuum the gravel.
Clean the filter too. Now that the environmental factors have been
addressed we can look at some of the others. In the wild discus
actually eat algae and very small aquatic invertebrates. Sometimes
commercial foods are too rich for their long intestinal tracks. These
foods may cause a blockage. Now the bacteria in the gut start to break
down the food instead of the fish's body absorbing it. As the
bacteria grow and multiply it extends the gut of the fish and stresses
the rest of the body. Not too many medications can be absorbed into the
fish's body. If too much time goes by then no medication will work
because the infection has gotten too large. The bacteria or other
parasites grow faster than the medication can kill it. Other factors
include organics in the water. Many medications are absorbed by the
activated carbon in the filter or by the mulm found in the gravel. When
not treated effectively the bacteria and other parasites can build up a
resistance to any medication and will make it totally ineffective.
Metronidazole is a reasonable treatment. It needs to be done early and
often. You may have already waited too long for any treatment to work
at this time. If you want to believe the other source that
Metronidazole doesn't work, then I have heard that Clout or a
triple dose of Furanace has worked on occasion.-Chuck>
Discus not eating... poor mix... no data re
water quality or reading -- 02/07/08 Hi there, I am Dan
and I have a few questions. First off, I really like your
website. It is very informative. Anyway, I recently bought a neon
blue discus which is in a 40 gallon tank with a Firemouth, Pleco,
tetras, tiger barbs, and a puffer. <Uhh... trouble with this
mix> Everyone gets along great. <No> There is no
aggression and they seem perfectly healthy. <The key word
here, "seem"> However, my discus is not eating. I
just got him 2 days ago and he is not eating. <Oh! Two days is
not much time to settle in...> I tried feeding him bloodworms,
flakes, and pellets, none which he seemed interested in. What
could be wrong? <Likely the company... though water quality
could definitely be an issue...> He seems healthy and
doesn't have any signs of illnesses except for not eating.
The tank is fully cycled and I do 50 percent water changes
weekly. <Mmm... this is more water changed... please see WWM
re frequent partial water changes> Do discuses NEED other
discuses or will they be fine alone? <Are social animals> I
really only wanted one because I don't have much room and
discus are really expensive! So what do you think the problem may
be? None of the fishes seem to be bullying him and nitrite,
nitrate, ammonia are all fine. Is he just getting settled in? If
so, how long will it take for him to fully get used to the tank
and start eating? Please help. Thanks, Daniel <Please read on
WWM re the species you list. Obviously you have not. Symphysodon
require higher temperature, perhaps softer, more acidic water
than some of your other livestock. The mix you list can't be
made to work... Bob Fenner>
-- 02/07/08 Sorry, I sent the message by accident, I have one
more question. Will my discus starve? Will he know he needs to
eat? Or will he go on a hunger strike and not eat? Also, how do I
make my water softer, and can you give me some species of
cichlids that need hard water so I wont keep them together? Last,
is there a way to test the ph without keep on buying test strips?
Thanks again WetWebMedia. Sorry for the late message. Thanks
again, Dan <All of this is posted. Please learn to/use the
indices, search tool, as we instruct folks to before writing us.
Re: discus not
eating 2/8/08 Sorry to bother
you Mr.. Fenner, but wanted to know why my tank is a bad mix.
Also what should I do?. Thanks again, Dan <Hi Daniel. The
problem with your selection of fish is that you picked species
you like, rather than ones that get along together. Just like you
can't keep cats, dogs, and mice all cooped up in one cage,
you can't expect a random selection of fish to automatically
get along. Just because they're all on sale in the shop
doesn't mean they're all suitable for the one aquarium.
So let's take this step by step. A 40-gallon tank is a nice
size, but it isn't huge. It's perfect for a school of
Tiger Barbs, for example. But Tiger Barbs need to be kept in
groups of six (at least) or they become aggressive towards other
fish. Not always, but often enough for them to have a
"bad" reputation among experienced hobbyists.
They're also fin-nippers. This means that sometimes (not
always) they bite the fins of other fish, maybe for food, maybe
because they're bored. In either case, you wouldn't mix
them with slow moving fish. Which brings us to the Firemouth. The
Firemouth cichlid is a big, slow moving fish with long fins. It
is a sitting target for Tiger Barbs, literally a moving buffer
they can nibble on whenever they want. Firemouth cichlids also
have very specific water chemistry requirements: they need
moderately to very hard water with a basic pH; 10-15 degrees dH
and pH 7.5 is about right for them. But Discus want the complete
opposite. They want water that is quite soft and slightly acidic.
There's not really any overlap between what these two fish
need, so if you make one of them happy, you'll make the other
sick. Moreover, there's a big difference in temperament.
Discus are shy, sociable fish that do best in big tanks that
allow them to swim about in groups of half a dozen. Firemouth
cichlids, on the other hand, are territorial and somewhat
aggressive once mature. Again, this is a disaster waiting to
happen. As for the Neons, Neons want quite cool water, around
22-25C, and when kept too warm don't live for very long. They
simply burn out. Discus, on the other hand, want the reverse:
they need water around 28C, and if kept any colder get sick very
easily because their digestive and immune systems aren't
working properly. So any temperature warm enough for the Discus
will be dangerously hot for the Neons. Now, saying you have a
"pufferfish" covers a lot of ground. The most common
species sold in the hobby are the Green Spotted Puffer (actually
two different species) and the Figure-8 Puffer. Both of these are
brackish water fish, and do not do well in freshwater aquaria. By
the time you'd added enough marine salt mix to the tank to
keep these puffers healthy, you'd have killed most of the
rest of your fish. So again, there's no overlap here between
what these different fishes need. So what you basically have is a
bunch of fish that can't be kept together. They're all
lovely fish in their way, and excellent additions to tanks set up
for their needs, but put together -- they're a disaster! So
what can you do? The simplest solution is usually to ask your
retailer if you can return the fish and change them for some
others. Some stores will do this. Some stores will even take back
fish they didn't sell you, giving your a certain amount of
credit against new fishes. Now, once you've done that --
don't buy any fish! Visit a library or bookstore and find a
nice aquarium book with lots of fishes. Read up on what different
fishes need. For example, if you wanted to keep the Firemouth
cichlid, you could keep it alongside Platies or Swordtails, for
example, which thrive in the same hard water conditions.
Australian Rainbowfish would be good, too. If you like the Tiger
Barbs best, then good companions for these are other fast-moving
fish. Loaches, Glassfish, Bleeding Heart Tetras, and Rainbowfish
would work well with them. Avoid anything slow with long fins. So
no gouramis, Angelfish, etc. There's really no magic to this,
it's simply a case of sitting down with a book and reading up
on water chemistry and social behaviour. If all else fails, send
us an e-mail and say "Hi Guys, I saw this fish X and want to
know if it'll go with my existing fish Y." We'll
give you an honest Yea or Nay, and of you go! Simple as that.
Good luck, Neale.> <<Thank you for this Neale!
Re: discus not eating
2/8/08 Thank you. Dan <No probs. Now, just read some more
and try and fix the mess you made. Your poor old fishes are
rather depending on you! Neale.>
Discus feeding habits 9/25/07 I am
curious. Why do some discus (or fish in general) repeatedly inhale then
spit out their food? Is it because they don't like it, or is it
caused by a physical problem? I bought five juvenile discus from live
aquaria; they arrived two weeks ago. They are active and show no sign
of illness. Three began to feed after a few days. One more began to
feed after about 10. The fifth however tries furiously to eat, but will
not hold anything down. It turns it's nose up to most foods but
frozen bloodworms. When I feed with bloodworms, it will inhale three to
four times, then just give up and go after another one. Process repeats
until the other fish have eaten all the food. I have had the same thing
happen to me in the past, and unfortunately the fish starved to death.
I tried to feed it everything you can imagine. I had to throw out all
my people food in my freezer to make room for fish food. Not really,
but I'm sure you know what I mean! Anyhow, it also tried furiously
to eat, but couldn't seem to hold anything down. I am only curious;
knowledge is a powerful tool. If you can tell me why they do this, that
would be great. If you could suggest a solution, that's even
better. Thanks for your time, effort, and love of a fabulous hobby. -
Tommy <Greetings. Because fish don't have hands (obviously) they
can't explore or manipulate food items in the same way as animals
with hands can. If you think about how you eat a piece of seafood like
a shrimp, you'll understand the different. You'll grab hold of
the shrimp, pull off the head, peel off the shell, twist off the tail,
and then pop the meaty part into your mouth. A fish can't do that.
If it eats a shrimp, it has to either swallow it hole (as some fish do)
or else process it with its jaws, spitting out the inedible parts (as
other fish do) If the prey item is particularly difficult to eat, the
chewing and spitting part may be repeated many times. The water around
the fish stops the prey item sinking too fast, so the fish can spit the
food out and then have time to swallow it up again from a different
angle if it needs to, or perhaps select only the meaty part while
rejecting the shell. When fish repeatedly chew and then spit out the
same food item, but never swallow it, it usually means they don't
like the taste or it is too heavily armoured or too large for them to
swallow safely. The solution is simply to try alternative food items.
Bloodworms are usually accepted by most freshwater fish, but not all
fish will eat them. Sometimes, my fish will eat one brand but not
another! So experimentation is the key. Discus, at least tank-bred
ones, are fairly amenable when it comes to food. They should accept
good quality pellet food as well as bloodworms. Live foods such as
daphnia are also a good choice. For fish that refuse to eat, live
Tubifex often work remarkably well, but there is a health risk
associated with them because of where they may be collected, so
sterilising them beforehand is a good idea, if you choose to use them.
Very few fish are happy to eat the same thing day in, day out. Varying
the menu is always important. Spending a little time at Fishbase
researching a particular fish is a good way to get tips on diet. Wild
discus, for example, eat plants, algae, crustaceans, insects, and
worms. So picking from that menu would be the best way forward. The
value of plant material is often overlooked by cichlid-keepers, yet
virtually all cichlids eat some plant matter. Sushi Nori, cooked
spinach, and tinned peas are usually good choices here, since few
cichlids will reject them, especially if they're hungry! Hope this
Discussing Discus... Systems,
Feeding, 7/10/06 Hello fish keeping friends,
<Hi Jarryd, Pufferpunk here> I currently have 6 discus: one
brilliant turquoise, one red turquoise, one German purple, one blue
pigeon, one pigeon snakeskin and one solid white metallic blue fin.
<Sounds like my tank!> All are getting on well I would just like
to make sure that I'm doing everything properly. The tank is 68
gallon planted, temp 28.5 degrees Celsius, all ammonia, nitrates,
nitrites at zero, pH at 6.5. <I would give them at least 15g
each. I have 5 in my 90g. I was told by the
breeder I could keep 6 but 5 look comfortable in
there. Remember, they can grow as large as your hand.> My
fishy friends get fed a high quality flake food called Nutrifin mixed
with a discus formula from O.S.I. in the morning, then brine shrimp at
about 3 in the afternoon and then a feeding of frozen blood worms and
Mysis shrimp for tea. Does this feeding schedule seem ok in your
opinion?? <3x/day is perfect. Their metabolism is high
due to the high temps. I keep my temp at 84-86F
degrees. Brine shrimp aren't very nutritious--mostly
water. For my 3rd feeding I use freeze-dried plankton.> I
carry out two 30% water changes per week, using ready made water
heated to 30 degrees then pH adjusted. In terms of water changing
is this too much??? <I do 70% weekly. Here is some info
on differences between several smaller WC compared to a single large
WC: http://www.thepufferforum.com/articles/water/waterchangemath.html I
find no reason to adjust pH. Especially if it goes back up
after the adjustment product dissipates (unless you're running
peat). That fluctuation can be more harmful than
good. Tank-bred discus are used to any pH.> Thank you for
your time, I also have one more query, I've noticed that some
discus are more rounded and thicker than others?? Is this just part of
their genetics??? <Could be...> And as discus mature do they
fatten up and become more rounded????? <Not sure what you're
asking--definately a "flat" fish. Enjoy those
discus, I find them quite friendly, beautiful & rewarding to
keep! ~PP>> Thank you so much for helping,
Discus On Hunger Strike 2/3/06 Hi,
I'm in need of your help. I have 2 Discus in my tank, everything
was fine for about 2 months but all of a sudden one just stops eating.
The other Discus is fine but the one that is not eating likes to hide
during the day and comes out during the evening and at night but only
if no one is around. I also checked for white string poop but never
found any hanging off of the discus. The color is good and everything
looks good but it's just not eating. It's been about 10 days
now and I'm starting to get worried. I have a 55g tank with 2
angels (not bothering the discus) 2 Clown loach, 2 Cory cats, 15
cardinal tetras, and the two discus. The water is fine I just checked
it and I keep the temp. around 85-86f. What could i do to resolve this
problem? Thanks, Dany < Discus are cichlids and can be very
territorial. The one discus may be dominate and chases the other discus
away from the food. Usually they should be kept in groups so that one
cannot continue to push the other one around. When you feed the tank
you can add a little food in the corner where the other discus hides.
If he still doesn't eat then there could be an interior bacterial
First Discus, Lonely Discus, Finicky Eater? -
10/22/2005 Hi again guys. <Hello.> I have a couple saltwater
tanks, but decided to try discus. I tried as my first fish, not a wise
idea. <Not a terribly bad idea, if done correctly.> I have
a 55g with a penguin Bio-wheel and a Mag 350. PH 7.0, 0am, 0 nitrates,
and nitrites, and ammonia. We bought a discus online last Tuesday,
<One? Just one?> 14 days ago, and cannot ever see him eat.
However his color is good, and he is semi- active sometimes, and not
too active other times (mostly hangs out in a corner, and sometimes
swims). We feed him bloodworms, but never see him eat. <These
fish are mostly only comfortable in groups.... Unless you are breeding
a pair, a group of four is almost a minimum; they really feel/act/look
better if there are a few of them.> It looks as though a lot is
gone, and he looks fine, but no matter how much we watch, he won't
eat. Is it possible he is eating while we are not watching?
<Possible, but not highly likely.> If he hasn't eaten in this
much time, seems as though he would look bad. I am doing daily water
changes, 5G. The only other fish we have in there is a golden nugget
Pleco. I have a piece of driftwood and a white arrowhead plant, and a
gravel bed. <In all honesty, he's likely not eating
because he's too insecure to do so, without some buddies around.
One good idea would be to call the breeder from whom you purchased and
ask what they were feeding him.> One more thing. If we have success,
and want to add more fish, how many total discus can we put in there?
<Four or six until they're close to adult size.... then a pair,
if you wish to breed.> Your have helped me out in a lot of my
saltwater questions, and I do appreciate it a lot!!!!!! <Glad we
could be of service.> Thanks, Jon <Wishing you well,
First Discus, Finicky Eater? - 10/24/2005 Thanks a
lot!! I just ordered 3 more. -Jon, discus newb <Hope he perks
up some with some friends around. Wishing you well, -Sabrina>
Discus Growth 9/5/05 I'm a fairly new
discus keeper and was wondering if you could help me? I would like to
increase the growth rate and improve the colours of my discus and was
wondering if you could help me with a nutritional plan for my discus,
they are still fairly young and vary from about 2 to 5 inches. I have
two tanks each with 6 fish in them. <Your Discus color will improve
as they get older. Frequent water changes are a great place
to start, mix up clean water in a separate container, heat it to match
that of the tank water and perform frequent water
changes. If you are really into it small daily water changes
are good. Warmer temperatures will increase their metabolism
making them eat more and grow faster. Check out this link
for a good article on Discus Diet http://www.rockymountaindiscus.com/Discus_Fish_Diet.htm
Fat discus? (06/28/03) um I may have a
problem..... <Hopefully, we have a suggestion for a solution...
Ananda here tonight!> I have a 75 planted aquarium with a bunch of
schooling fish and a discus a fed them today and I noticed that they
all seem much fatter! <Did you feed them something different from
their usual fare? Or more than usual? I found out that one particular
type of dry food that I have makes my clown loaches bloat...so now that
tank doesn't get that particular food any more.> more fat than
usual I'm scared something's wrong with them but there all like
this so I took out my DIY Co2 injector cuz I recently added that in
there. <I don't *think* that would have an effect on the fish
looking bloated...> Is there anything wrong with my fish or are they
just full? Thank you, Chris <They might be bloated -- aka, your fish
have gas! -- or possibly constipated. In either case, the solution is
the same. Add some Epsom salts to your tank. The usual dose is one
tablespoon per five gallons of tank water. But since you have discus
and a planted tank, you might want to add it at the rate of one
teaspoon of Epsom salts per five gallons of water each day over three
days. (That's what I did for my clown loaches.) Also, try feeding
your fish frozen and thawed peas. The bulk in them can help clear out
their digestive tract. If the bloating doesn't go away after a
couple of days, you can give them another round of Epsom salts.
Discus Dilemma Hi, I've been keeping a 250 gal
discus tank for about 3 years, I've suffered losses, but everyone
seems to be doing fine. About a year ago I purchased three
cobalts. They are all eating well, greet me at the tank and
in general seem fine. One of the three (Sam) has tripled in
size, another (Merry) has doubled, but my concern is with (Pippin), he
has not grown one bit. He is still the size of a 50 cent
piece. (if that) He eats with the others, I make sure of
that, and he's very friendly with everyone. My question
is why isn't he growing? <Could just be a runt. Your discus are
many generations away from wild fish and may carry a gene toward
recessive growth> I've added a garlic vitamin
suggested by my pet store in Phoenix, which specializes in Discus. <
When I see stuff like this I always wonder where discus encounter
garlic in the rivers of the Amazon.> The tank temp is at 86 deg, ph
is around 7.2. It's hard to get the ph lower, because my
tank is directly plumbed in to my water line. We have very
hard water here. It's convenient for me, as my water
level is always constant, but I can't control the ph like I would
like to. I change out about 40 gallons every two weeks. I
have a 15 gal tank set up for emergencies. It has a ph of
6.0 and the temp is at 86 deg. Should I move Pip to the
other tank maybe with another smaller discus, I have 11
altogether? I'm wondering if he would grow in a more
controllable environment. < Young fish seem to have periods of rapid
growth when the are small. Sometimes these windows are missed due to
environmental conditions. Your fish may have been too scared to eat and
compete with the other larger fishes> How long does it take a discus
to achieve it's full size? < In the wild probably about 2 years
. Quicker in the aquarium because of the optimum feeding regimes of
their owners. I doubt discus get all this choice food a couple times a
day while swimming around not doing much.> Any suggestions you might
have would be greatly appreciated. <I would classify your small
discus as a dwarf and would not anticipate the little guy getting much
bigger any time soon. He may get along better in a smaller tank with
smaller fish so he will not get too bullied around. Your water
conditions are fine for discus and you are to be commended for working
so hard to get the water conditions as good as they are. Get a nitrate
test kit an see what they are. Discus do not like high nitrates and you
may need to do a little bigger water change as your discus grow and
require more space and food.-Chuck> Joni Savage
What's up with their appetite? I have a 165
gallon tank with 10 discus of various sizes in it. We have a
29 gallon set up with some discus that are just about ready size wise
to go into the 165 gallon. It seems that there is a definite
head honcho in the 165. For a few weeks he was chasing
everybody terribly, we weren't sure if anybody ever got to eat
except him. We moved all the decorations around in
hopes of it making it a little less territorial and it seems to have
worked somewhat he isn't chasing much anymore but they still
aren't eating that much. We normally feed frozen food in
the morning and black worms at night. We have noticed that
the fish eat like pigs in the 29 gallon but when they get to the 165
it's a different story. We moved 2 over to the 165 a
couple of weeks ago from the 29 gallon and now we hardly see them eat,
before they were practically eating from our hands. I
don't know if it's because of that dominant fish or possible
something else. The conditions in the 165 should be
good. The temp is at 86 and I do a partial water change
every 2 days, sand bottom not many decorations.... Any
ideas? < At that temperature their metabolism is
probably running pretty high with a pretty good appetite to go with it.
I would lower the temp to about 80 and switch the dominant fish to the
29 for awhile with the others that are ready to be moved to the 165
anyway and see if it makes a difference. I think after a couple of
weeks the other fish may be more confident and better fed. Reintroduce
the dominant fish and see how they sort things out. Depending on the
size of the fish they may have been getting ready to
Re: What's up with their appetite? Is 86
degrees the best temperature to keep a discus tank normally at? <I
think that 86 degrees is a little too high for long term maintenance.
At that temperature they will grow quickly if well fed. But it will
also probably shorten their lifespan too> What will reducing the
temperature do and how long should we keep it at that temperature for?
<By reducing the water temperature the fish will also be at a
reduced temperature. They will not breathe as hard. Their metabolism
will slow down. They may develop eggs and breed if they get a chance to
develop some fat reserves. Overall I think it stresses the fish. I
would drop it to 82 or 80 for long term success.-Chuck>Thanks so
much for your advice!!